Mosque not far from a Project 24 Center

MARK VII: These Christian, holy people are recognized by “the holy possession of the sacred cross” (suffering).

“They must endure every misfortune and persecution, all kinds of trials and evil from the devil, the world, and the flesh (as the Lord’s Prayer indicates) by inward sadness, timidity, fear, outward poverty, contempt, illness, and weakness, in order to become like their head, Christ.” Here we see Luther’s emphasis on the way of the cross vs. the way of glory as marking the path of Christian, holy people. “This too is a holy possession whereby the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies his people, but also blesses them.”

This would seem to be a conundrum.  If the “Christian Holy people” are recognized by what they suffer why would we want to build rescue centers to alleviate the suffering?  There are people even in our church who seem to think that we should not intervene in suffering but simply preach Gospel to it.  It seems to me that a fulsome understanding of the Theology of the Cross is that in suffering we see God’s glory and our salvation and under the “mask” of suffering we can live out our Christian faith in serving our neighbors need.  So as Paul says in Romans 5 –3 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”    So in suffering we rejoice and in viewing suffering we seek to help.

We have heard that some Project 24 Centers have received some persecution and threats from Muslims in various parts of the country so we believe that these Centers are a real part of the church.